Menomonie, Wisconsin History/JumperTech
Unitarian Universalism is about free and responsible search for truth and meaning in our lives and our beliefs; we think for ourselves, and reflect together. Unitarian Universalism is a religion based on seven principles that gives a base for what each person can believe. Unitarian Universalism in Menomonie area has an unique history; since a wealthy members of Menomonie was a Unitarian. Unitarians still meet every other Sunday during the school year.
Background of Unitarians and Their Beliefs
Unitarian Universalism although it's significantly old,it's not a popular religion. The religion is about “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” in our lives and our beliefs; “we think for ourselves, and reflect together”. Unitarians go by seven principles when they are finding their path in life. The first principle is: the inherent worth and dignity of every person; second principle is: justice, equity and compassion in human relations; third principle is: acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; fourth principle is: a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; fifth principle: the right of conscience and in society at large; sixth principle: the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; the seventh is: respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. The children learn a version of these principles that is called the rainbow path and each color represents a version of one of the seven principles. The religious symbol is a flaming chalice, because it combines two archetypes- a drinking vessel and a flame- and as a religious symbol it has a different meanings to different beholders. Well known Unitarians are: John Adams (president), Charles Dickens (author of A Christmas Carol, and Oliver Twist), Thomas Jefferson (president), Henry David Thoreau (author, poet, abolitionist), and Benjamin Franklin plus many ways in different movements through time. They have been leaders in many different universal topics, woman suffrage, gay rights, and slavery are just a few examples.
The Tainter's were a wealthy family that built and donated the Mabel Tainter Theater to the Unitarian community. Captain Andrew Tainter made this: “One of the principal purposes for which the Memorial Building is erected is to provide a suitable and permanent church home for the liberals or Unitarians of the city of Menomonie and vicinity, and in the construction of an auditorium, providing an organ, parlors, ladies’ work rooms, Young Men’s Club room, pastor’s study, assembly room, and kitchen, we have aimed to meet what we believe to be the needs of a Liberal or Unitarian congregation or society as a place for its educational, social. charitable and religious work” to explain what the theater was made for. Mrs. Tainter was a strong supporter in the Unitarians, while Captain Tainter would rather be with his horses.
Henry Doty Maxson became the main minister in Menomonie area after Reverian J. H. Crooker induced him. Maxson came to Menomonie a couple of years after Mabel Tainter died, he helped the Tainters through their grief and got the Tainter's to build a memorial in honor of their late daughter. Maxson was in charge of what was held in the theater area and related rooms, he even had an office there. Henry spent his last hours in that office, his last words are still written on a blackboard that is still in his office. The main sentence on the board go like this: “he who caused no fear to the smallest creature has no cause to fear when he dies". This man stood up for woman suffrage and was the vice-president of the State Suffrage Association. He was the reason why the Stout school was always a co-ed school.
James Huff Stout- the founder the University of Wisconsin Stout Polytechnical school, was also involved with the Unitarians and was also a president of the association with Henry Doty Maxson.
Meeting Places Through the Years
The first meeting place in Menomonie was in their court house with Reverian J. H. Crooker. These meetings weren’t regular since Reverian Crooker was from Madison, Wisconsin and had to travel.
The second place was a hall where Professor H. D. Maxson had regular meetings and he became known as the founder.
Mabel Tainter Theater was the longest meeting place and when the Tainter’s built it they gave the Unitarians full use of the theater for meetings, they did this because of their connection with the congregation and Professor H. D. Maxson. Mrs. Tainter was the driving force to get the memorial done fast and with as much beauty into it as money allowed. There are some designs in the theater that are influenced by Islam, this could just beauty or cultures being brought together.
They have used the Mabel Tainter memorial since 2014 when they moved to 105 N. 21st Street, they meet every 2nd and 4th Sundays during September to May.
- UUA Top Stories. January 22, 2015. www.uua.org
- Unitarian society of Menomonie. www.meonomieuu.org
- Jana Reeg Steidinger, tour at Mabel Tainter Theater, November 9, 2015